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User onboarding best practices
Priya Nain3/2/23 3:34 AM7 min read

From Sign-up to Success: 6 User Onboarding Best Practices

As a business owner, you want your users to be successful and satisfied with their experience on your platform. However, creating an effective user onboarding process can be a challenge. You may have invested time and resources into creating a user onboarding program, only to realize that it's not converting users into paid customers or retaining them as loyal users.

The pain of a lackluster user onboarding process is all too real, but there is a solution. In this blog, we dive into the best practices for user onboarding to help you optimize the experience for your users and drive better outcomes for your business.

If you're struggling with user onboarding and want to improve user engagement and retention, read on and discover the best practices to follow for a highly effective user onboarding flow.

6 User Onboarding Best Practices

1) Know your target audience

When you know who you're designing for, you can tailor your onboarding process to address their unique challenges and goals. This, in turn, leads to a more effective and efficient onboarding experience that users will love.

Take project management software as an example. If you know that your users are mostly project managers who are familiar with technology, you can focus on highlighting the unique features of your software and how they can streamline their workflow. On the other hand, if your users are new to project management software, you might want to include more hand-holding and step-by-step guidance to help them get up and running.

You should know what drives your audience, what they hope to achieve, and what they desire. Having this insight helps guide your efforts, backed by data and user behavior. The best way to start is to engage with your users directly as early as possible and find an efficient way to validate that your solution addresses a real need.

2) Customize as much as possible

Tailoring the user onboarding experience for each market segment can bring many benefits to your product. Rather than a generic approach, segment your users based on the specific job they want to use your product for and personalize their onboarding experience accordingly.

This allows you to:

  1. Ensure that users learn what they need to know to reach their "aha" moment.
  2. Be clear and specific about how your product can help each user, based on their unique goals.
  3. Increase user motivation through targeted messaging that aligns with each user's primary objective.

An example of this is Wistia, a video marketing tool. People may sign up for Wistia for various reasons, such as sharing videos with clients, customizing video players to match their brand, turning viewers into leads, controlling access to individual videos, or creating a video series. Upon signing up, Wistia presents users with a question about their main goal with the tool, allowing them to self-select the job they want to use Wistia for.And based on the answers, they can guide the users on their next steps. 

3) Set the first goal to Aha! Moment

Reaching the "aha" moment during user onboarding is crucial for SaaS products because it sets the foundation for a positive and productive user experience. The "aha" moment refers to the point in time when a user understands the value of your product and realizes how it can help them achieve their goals. In other words, it is the the moment when the they experience the promise of your product for the first time.

It helps increase user engagement and adoption of your product. When users understand the value of your product, they're more likely to continue using it and derive long-term benefits. If users don't understand the value of your product, they're more likely to abandon it and move on to something else.

4) Turn the goals and tasks into challenges

By turning tasks into challenges, you can create a sense of accomplishment and progress for users, which can help keep them motivated and engaged.

To turn goals and tasks into challenges, you can use gamification elements such as points, badges, and leaderboards. For example, you could create a challenge for users to complete a certain number of tasks within a certain timeframe, or you could reward users with badges for completing certain milestones in the onboarding process. You can also use progress tracking and progress indicators to show users how far they have come and how much they still have to do.Progress bar in Evernote user onboarding. Source: 

This approach can be especially effective because it taps into our innate sense of competition and desire for progress, which can make the onboarding process feel less like a chore and more like a game. This can also make the information and tasks involved in the onboarding process easier to remember, as users are more likely to associate them with positive experiences and emotions.

5) Show, don’t tell

Instead of sending detailed documents of how to use the features, or creating a lengthy walkthrough, shows the functionality of the product with an interaction or visualization. By demonstrating the product's functionality users are more likely to understand and appreciate the benefits of your product, which can lead to a better overall user experience. They are more likely to understand and remember how to use it effectively.

Here's an example of how Notion does it —

6) Reduce Friction

Friction in the user onboarding process refers to any obstacle or impediment that makes it difficult for users to understand and adopt your product. Friction can come in many forms, such as confusing interfaces, unclear instructions, long forms to fill out, or complex processes to complete. These obstacles can slow down or discourage users from continuing with the onboarding process, which can lead to decreased motivation, frustration, and ultimately, decreased adoption of your product.

Here are three tips to reduce friction in user onboarding for SaaS products:

1) Keep it simple: Aim for a straightforward and intuitive onboarding process. Avoid overwhelming users with too much information or too many steps to complete.
2) Use visuals: Visual aids such as images, videos, and animations can help simplify complex concepts and make the onboarding process more engaging for users. One can consider using free AI-generated visuals to enhance the overall user experience.
3) Personalize the experience: Customize the onboarding process for different user segments to ensure that each user's experience is tailored to their needs and goals. This can help increase motivation and engagement, and reduce friction.

Sprout Social streamlines the onboarding process by eliminating the need for users to input or import their own data. Instead, users are able to immediately explore the product's features using a simulated data set, reducing friction and flattening the learning curve. This allows new users to experience the value of the product sooner and it reduces friction in understanding its value.

Turn Your User Onboarding Into a "wow" Experience

User onboarding is a crucial aspect of any business's success. By implementing the best practices outlined in this blog, you can create a user onboarding process that drives better engagement, retention, and conversion for your business.

However, creating an effective user onboarding program can be time-consuming and challenging. That's where Inturact comes in. Inturact is an agency that specializes in user onboarding and has a proven track record of helping businesses achieve their goals. By working with Inturact, you'll have access to a team of experts who can help you create an impactful user onboarding process tailored to your business's unique needs and goals. Take the first step towards success and contact Inturact today.


1. How can I know my target audience well in order to onboard the users better?

The best way to know your target audience well is to engage with your users directly as early as possible and find an efficient way to validate that your solution addresses a real need.

2. What is the Aha moment in context with user onboarding?

At Inturact, we define it as the moment when the user experiences the promise of your product for the first time. It’s what the user experiences when going through the onboarding steps with the Onboarding stage of the customer journey map, which can be improved to help the user not drop off and accomplish the onboarded state.

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